Steven K. Kauffman

April 28, 1926 - December 28, 2019
Steven K. Kauffman

As happens eventually to us all I, Steven King Kauffman, died on December 28, 2019. I’ve had a good life with lots of variety.

I was born in April of 1926 in Los Angeles and christened as Frank Edgar Kauffman III. My name was changed as my father had left my mother when I was two and I never saw him again.

You can figure out how old I was when I died. As a boy I lived in St. Louis, MO and Delray Beach, FL.

I graduated Cum Laude from Governor Dummer Academy in Massachusetts and was sent by the Navy during WWII to what was then Tufts College. I graduated Cum Laude in mechanical engineering. I was commissioned in 1948 out of NROTC an ensign in the Civil Engineer Corps of the Navy. I married Mary Keefe and we had two boys, Mark and John. I spent twenty years in the Navy. Along the way I got a civil engineering degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and an MBA from George Washington University; even had a mountain in Antarctica named after me (Google: Mount Kauffman) for the work I did there on the staff of Operation Deepfreeze ’64 &’65 supporting the National Science Foundation United States Antarctic Research Project (USARP). While I was on that staff, in charge of civil engineering, I managed the design, manufacture, transport (from Calgary, Canada), and construction of an eight-man, year-round station built for the Polar Plateau, 600 miles past the South Pole. There the pressure elevation was 14,000 feet and the winter temperature got to 125 degrees F below zero. During construction, while I was there, it was only forty below.

One time, for a few minutes, I was the southern-most man in the world, when I climbed a 180-foot high tower at the South Pole.

After I retired from the Navy as a Commander in 1968, I worked for Stanford Research Institute; married again to a lovely lady named Teresa, and then worked for the New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA). I managed the New York subway system for four years and then ran the whole NYCTA, subways and buses, for two years. While I was running the subways, my team managed to get the trains to run on time 98.6% of the time, a high water mark. During the New York City financial crisis in the ‘70s, I cut the $660 million subway budget ten percent a year for three years running. Then, I told the MTA Chairman that we needed $10 billion to put the system back into top condition. He arranged a bond issue to fund the rehabilitation projects. After nine years at the NYCTA, I quit and went to work as the president of the Safety Electrical Equipment Corporation and then went back to California as vice-president transportation for Kaiser Engineers for six years. I ended up in charge of transportation marketing with Fluor-Daniel before I retired. Working on the Deepfreeze staff and running the subways were the most fun jobs I had.

My wife Teresa and I moved to Williamsburg in 1992 and have lived here ever since. Here I founded the Third Thursday Lunch Bunch and was on the vestry and was senior warden at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church. In my dotage I managed the design and construction of a major addition to that church, Miles Hall. My last residence was a CCRC, Williamsburg Landing.

My son John and his wife, Eileen, gave us two grandchildren, Brian and Kathryn. Mark and his wife, Lucy, have no kids but lots of horses, ponies, and dogs.

If you want to come and say goodbye to me, there’s going to be a Funeral Mass At St. Bede Catholic Church on January 18, 2020 at 9:00 AM followed by a Memorial service at 2:00 PM at the Alvin P. Anderson Auditorium at the Williamsburg Landing. I won’t be there, of course. Hopefully, I’ll be watching from Heaven. Don’t send flowers. Buy yourself a real nice bottle of wine and toast me as you enjoy it. I’d like that.

May God bless you and, hopefully, someday, you’ll join me in Heaven.


Service

Saturday, January 18, 2020
9:00 AM

Saint Bede Catholic Church - Directions
3686 Ironbound Road
Williamsburg, VA 23188

Memorial

Saturday, January 18, 2020
2:00 PM

Alvin P. Anderson Memorial Auditorium at The Williamsburg Landing - Directions
5700 Williamsburg Landing Dr.
Williamsburg, VA 23185

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  • December 30, 2019
    Philip Dominguez says:
    God Bless You Steve ! I’m particularly thankful for the few moments of intense conversation and fellowship that we shared. The subway will again reach 98.6% and when it does, I’ll think of you and thank you for the timeless advice you shared on running the system. Until we meet again, Yours, -Philip Dominguez

  • January 02, 2020
    Barb Faubert says:
    The Angels and all the company of Heaven welcome Steve into their fold. He was a kind and gentle person that I was glad to have known.

  • February 09, 2020
    gene sansone says:
    I just learned about you passing away. I will be always grateful to you for hiring me at NYCTA and being part of your team which achieved performance records which will never be matched.